Kapil Kumar takes lead in round 1 of Tour Championship

Kapil Kumar takes lead in round 1 of Tour Championship

Key highlights:

. Kapil Kumar continues hot streak, shoots
spellbinding 10-under-62 to set the bar in round one of TATA Steel Tour
Championship 2019.

. SSP Chawrasia makes a happy return to
Jamshedpur with a 63 to be placed second.

. Rashid Khan, Khalin Joshi, Jeev Milkha Singh & Gaganjeet Bhullar enjoy promising start.

Delhi’s Kapil Kumar, a contender in the previous two
tournaments played on the TATA Steel PGTI, carried his red-hot form into the
season-ending TATA Steel Tour Championship 2019 with a spellbinding effort of
10-under-62. The 27-year-old Kapil thus set the bar in round one of the Rs. 1.5
crore event, being played at the Golmuri Golf Course in Jamshedpur.

Kolkata-based Indian golf star SSP Chawrasia made a happy
return to Jamshedpur after 12 long years as he struck a spectacular
nine-under-63 in the first round to be placed second.

On a cold and overcast day that witnessed a light drizzle
for about 20 minutes, Delhi’s Rashid Khan, the prime contender for the PGTI
Order of Merit title, was in tied third at 64 along with Bengaluru’s Khalin
Joshi, Kolkata’s Shankar Das and Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah.

Two of the marquee names in the field, Jeev Milkha Singh and Gaganjeet Bhullar, too enjoyed a promising start as both returned scores of 66 to be tied ninth.

Kapil Kumar, fresh from his tied fifth and tied 14th finishes in his last two events, continued the good work with an error-free 62 on Thursday. Kapil, currently 38th on the PGTI’s money list, got into his stride early on as he raced to six-under after his first nine holes on the back-nine. The light-eyed golfer’s consistent iron-play and much-improved chipping as compared to last week saw him set up four of his birdies within seven feet of the flag on the back-nine.

Kapil said, “I’ve drawn a lot of confidence from my performances over the last two weeks. I shot four low scores and was the leader for the first three rounds in Kolkata and the halfway leader in Bengaluru.

An eagle punctuated SSP Chawrasia’s on the second, four
birdies on the front-nine and three more on the back-nine. Chawrasia, who
recently retained his European Tour card, had a splendid start as he landed his
approach from 200 yards on the par-5 second within four feet of the hole to set
up an eagle.

SSP, the winner of three TATA Open titles in Jamshedpur,
then chipped it within a foot for a birdie on the third that set the tempo for
the rest of his round as he kept hitting it close.

Chawrasia, a four-time winner on the European Tour, said,
“I’m playing with a lot of confidence having retained my European Tour card
recently. This week I’m also feeling the positive effects of having previously
won three titles in Jamshedpur. A good result here would help me end the year
on a high and just give me that much-needed momentum for next year.

Khalin Joshi had an incredible run of five straight birdies on the back-nine during his round of 64.

Jeev Milkha Singh, playing his first-ever competitive
round at Golmuri, mixed eight birdies with two bogeys in his round of 66.

Jeev said, “It’s an amazing layout here at Golmuri. One
needs to shape the ball well, and distance control is important. I’m happy with
my solid start and consistent round. I was good off the tee and with my second
shots. I landed it close and made some quality chip-putts. I’ll look to build
on this effort over the next three days.”

Jyoti Randhawa, another Indian star in action this week, shot a 69 on day one to be placed tied 27th.

Bengaluru’s Chikkarangappa S, currently second in the PGTI’s money list and the only other contender for the Order of Merit crown besides Rashid Khan, made a quiet start with a 71 to be placed tied 45th.